Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fuck fan fiction? No, fuck you!

“Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couch-bound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.”

—Lev Grossman, TIME, July 18, 2011

The term fan fiction (sometimes spelled as one word and also initialized as FF) conjures up images of fat, sweaty, pimple-faced geeks living in their mother’s basements eating Cheetos, and hacking out derivative tripe from a lap top, or typewriter inspired by their favorite video games, comic books, TV shows, movies, novels, etc. But the question is why. Why would something so pure, so devotional, carry such an ugly stigma?

In my humble opinion, fan fiction is one of the purest and greatest homages to the stories that move us, and help shape our outlook on life. It is a means of interacting with our favorite stories. I’ve written a fair share of fan fiction and for me, it is a means of communicating with the author. It is my way of telling him or her that not only do I love the world he or she created, I’ve also taken up residence in that world and I’m shaping things as I see fit—hopefully he or she won’t mind (unless she’s Anne Rice, more on that later). I can still appreciate the story as it was previously written. In fact, it is my love and appreciation for the original story that guides me to interact with it. Fan fiction speaks to the characters of a story; it explores the world created by the artist, the author, game designer, etc. in ways the author may not have thought of. Currently, you’ll find books written in the Mass Effect Universe (a popular video game franchise developed by Bioware). This is fan fiction, it explores the universe in a way the games don’t and expands on them. There are TONS of books written in the Star Wars canon and Star Trek canon. All of it is fan fiction; it’s just published fan fiction authorized by George Lucas and Rod Roddenberry (Gene Roddenberry’s son. But if you were a Trekkie, you’d know that).

Now yes there are some authors who don’t particularly care for fan fiction. To each his own. I know that George RR Martin and Anne Rice are among those who aren’t fans of the practice (we love you anyway guys). Well, fan fiction is a derivative work under US Copyright law. There are some authors who like it and are flattered and excited by the practice. JK Rowling is one such author as is Stephanie Meyer (NO STEPHANIE MEYER JOKES PLEASE. I’M NOT A HUGE FAN EITHER, BUT WE DON’T WANT TO GET SUED!!!!). In fact the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy started out as fan fiction of Twilight. How do you like them apples?

A great website for fan fiction is fanfiction.net. They pretty much have everything except that which had to be removed due to lawsuits—pesky lawsuits. If you’re into fan fiction, you may already be aware of the site, but if not, you can click the link and peruse through the selections. I’m partial to the video game inspired fiction.

Well, that’s it for now; short, sweet and my two cents. I know we’ve been lax about updating on a regular basis. That will change. We’ll be updating on a weekly basis from now on. Expect to see some work from our friends and entries on everything from minorities in science fiction to why I think the traditional book (i.e. paper) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and can actually coexist with the e-book. Feel free to read, like, or even comment. Maybe you hate fan fiction. Maybe you hate me for even bringing it up. Well, comment. We’d love to hear from you.

Later writers! RONIN STAND UP!!

Much love and blessings

ImageObi here with a quick ditty. I just want to thank everyone who subscribed or “follows” us at Ronin Literati. It’s an honor to have such great folks along with us on our journey. If you have any suggestions on how to make the blog even better, drop us a line at roninliterati@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you. Expect some more fiction, some poetry, and cool articles in the coming weeks. Stay blessed. 

RONIN STAND UP!!!

Next Post

Here is an entry from my brother and partner-in-crime (fictional), Abrahim Appel who owns American Accents, which is a blog on WordPress. Here, he discusses the challenges of writing with dyslexia. Despite the hardships, he still finds time to write and express himself. What’s your excuse? Remember, if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.

American Accents

As someone with sever Dyslexia, I know the risks of being public with words.  I know the risks I take when I write something.

I waited almost my whole life to embrace, and allow my love for writing to be public, despite the ridicule that can occur. It took my whole life because of the severe embarrassment that comes with my words. My first drafts are messy. And sometimes if I post my words and thoughts too soon on Facebook, they get a glimpse of the embarrassing reality of who I am. Often I’m erasing blog posts as I just posted them because I catch a few mistakes every time. Because writing is so emotional for me, it is easy for someone like me to just want to share thee emotions of the post, and miss the “your” vs “You’re.” Because I am feeling the story.

I can only try my best. I use to…

View original post 1,213 more words

To revise or not to revise. No, really. Revise.

Greetings True Believers. Do you mind if I call you that? True Believers? I know it’s from Marvel Comics and whatnot, but I really like the way it rolls off the tongue. Anyway, piggy backing on the last entry concerning the benefits of writing poorly, which can be found here, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with the importance of revision.

Revision!

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that writing is rewriting and fuck if it ain’t true. Writing is rewriting. Remember, your first draft serves the purpose of getting most of your ideas on paper. When you revise, you refine those ideas. Perhaps you add more or remove some ideas, maybe you tighten up your scenes (more on scenes later), or maybe you do a combination of both. In any case, your manuscript must undergo a series of revisions, some great and some small, before it will be ready to show to a literary agent or publisher.

Then you can relax, PSYCHE!!!!

That’s where more revision comes in. Your agent may have suggestions (accept it, he/she will) and most definitely the editor will have suggestions. The point is, you aren’t finished with your book until it is ready to be published. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of people don’t understand this. Revising is more than just fixing gramatical errors, spelling snafus and overall syntax and flow. It’s also about rearranging scenes, adding new ideas, fleshing out certain characters who are flatter than others. In a sense, you’re putting the muscle on the skeleton of your story. Then, your agent or editor or both helps dress the story in all the lastest fall collection fashions. Then your short story, novelette, novella, novel, or epic, or whatever the fuck you’re writing is ready to hit that catwalk.

That’s a sexy book.

One thing to remember about revision is that you need to check your ego at the door. This is especially true of the workshopping component of revision (more on workshops later). Those whom you trust with your story will give you advice on what works and what needs work. Trust them. You don’t have to implement every single suggestion, but trust that they know what they’re talking about. Don’t take every suggestion as an attack. Indeed, to view it that way is actually quite immature. This is a business and in order to show you are a lucrative source of revenue to a publisher, you have to roll with the punches and revise. But more importantly, if you want your stories to be good (fuck that, great!) then you NEED to revise. The story isn’t your baby, it’s paper with words on it. You can trim the fat and still maintain the integrity of the work.

Also, don’t lose the fun in this process. As you revise and rewrite, you’ll learn new things about your story and essentially new things about yourself as a writer. You may think you don’t have what it takes to revise a story, but you’ll be surprised what you can do if you put your mind to it. Remember, you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself. That, and hard work will propel you to be the writer you strive to be.

Well kiddies, that’s it for now. We’ll have more great stuff in the coming weeks including more stories, poems, guest posts and submissions from guest authors, poets, and lecturers. Keep the pen moving and stay tuned.

Ronin stand up!!

The Hero and the Fool

Obi here. I’m currently reading an awesome book by James Scott Bell entitled, The Art of War for Writers. Liberally borrowing from Sun Tzu, Bell gives writers everywhere the tools and tips necessary to wade one’s way through the business of writing. Make no mistake, the publishing world is a business. So, it’s good to have a book that helps you along in navigating the treacherous world of publishing and writing.

On a side note, if you are just starting out on this wondrous road of writing then you have absolutely no business whatsoever even thinking about publishing or literary agents or any of that shit. Your job right now is to just write. Improve your craft and fall in love with words. That’s it. Keep it simple.

Since this guy had a predilection for flying into walls, I’m not sure if he’s the hero or the fool.

The Hero and the Fool

A hero follows orders, but then performs “above and beyond the call of duty.”  Yes, sometimes a fool can become a hero by accident. But most of the time the fool just ends up dead.

A hero knows it takes hard work and a long time to get published; a fool thinks it should happen immediately, because he thinks he’s a hero already.

A hero learns the craft: a fool doesn’t think there’s much to learn.

A hero keeps growing all his writing life; a fool thinks he’s fully grown already.

A hero fights to make his writing worthy, even when no one’s noticing; a fool demands to be noticed all the time, even if his writing stinks.

A hero is persistent and professional; a fool is insistent and annoying.

A hero gets knocked down and quietly regroups to write again; a fool gets knocked down and whines about it ever after.

A hero makes his luck; a fool cries about how unlucky he is.

A hero recognizes the worth in others; a food can’t believe others are worth more than he.

A hero keeps writing, no matter what, knowing effort is its own reward; a fool eventually quits and complains that the world is unfair.

Be a hero.

If I want to be a hero, I’ve got work to do. There were plenty of times when I’ve played the part of the fool.

The positives of writing poorly.

Greetings True Believers.

Obi here with a nice little ditty on the benefits and positives of writing like crap. No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you and you needn’t adjust the resolution on your computer monitor. I did say there are positives and benefits to writing like crap. See, for a lot of writers who are just starting out, they typically fall into the trap of thinking their writing has to be perfect after the first draft. No writer, and I mean no writer is ever perfect after the first draft! Not one. I don’t care if it’s Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Orson Scott Card, Janet Evanovich, Charmaine Harris, etc. If you recall an earlier post, Proper Introductions, I wax on philosophical (or at least I try to) about a Hemingway quote: “The first draft of anything is shit.” He’s absolutely right and for many of us writers, the second draft is shit and so is the third. It is only through dedication, hard work, perseverance, and constant practice do we improve our craft and ultimately churn out a piece that’s less shit and more gold.

Strive for perfection, but know it is unattainable. No one and nothing is perfect. Everything has its flaws, but by shooting for that goal, while keeping one’s expectations realistic is where the fun lies. Remember, there is joy in the journey and pride in the process. So give yourself permission to write poorly for your first draft. It is in the first draft that you’re discovering so much about your writing and yourself. You are putting your ideas to paper and seeing where it goes. Maybe you’ve outlined a little bit (more on that later), maybe you’re the writer who likes to fly by the seat or his/her pants and let the story develop on its own. Each is good in its own way.

The real writing is in rewriting. Revision is where you mine all that coal and find your diamond. Sometimes it takes years to find that story you’re looking for. Don’t let that deter you. Be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day (cliché, I know) and neither are good writers. No one comes out of the womb with a predilection for writing. The craft of writing must be taught. Everyone learns at their own pace. It isn’t a race. Finish strong and on your terms. And don’t sweat it if people don’t always like your stuff. If you can walk away from it proud, then you’ve done your job. You can’t control how other people feel about what you write. You can only control how you respond to it.

So remember, give yourselves room to grow and permission to write like shit. Spelling errors are sexie (see how I did that?), continuity snafus are the breakfast of champs, grammar and punctuation hiccups are super awesome (did I just say super awesome?). The point is, they will happen. For your first draft, let them happen and when you revise, take them out. Fix them. Shut up that annoying voice in your head called the inner critic. You know, the irritating one who tells you this sucks, or asks you why are you doing this, etc. He’s only necessary when the revision stage is upon you. While in the first draft, tell him to take a hike.

I leave you with a link to a video featuring Ira Glass, who speaks on what it’s like to be an amateur writer. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being an amateur. In fact, in French it means “lover of.” With that in mind, we are all amateurs. Peace.

Ira Glass on Storytelling</